Audi TT review
The beautiful Audi TT is great to look and good to drive, and it's surprisingly practical for a sports car
There aren't many cars that can rival the Audi TT for visual impact. It can trace its design roots back to 1998, but it still looks fresh and unique. The TT is based on the same chassis as the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf, and it offers a choice of front or four-wheel drive and a variety of petrol and diesel engines. The TT can be specified with Audi's revolutionary Magnetic Ride, which offer Comfort and Sport settings and make the car handle beautifully without compromising ride quality. Top of the range 335bhp TT RS versions are extremely powerful, while the 2.0 TDI diesel version returns 53.3mpg. An open-topped TT Roadster is also available.
Our choice: TT Coupe 2.0 TFSI
The second generation Audi TT was launched in 2008, but it still stands out from the crowd thanks to its clean, crisp lines. All cars get a rear wing which pops up automatically at 80mph, while S line and Black Edition models get a subtle bodykit to give it a slightly more aggressive look. Even base spec Sport models get 17-inch alloy wheels while inside, part leather is standard across the range. If you like to feel the wind in your hair you'll need to opt for the Roadster - but that makes do with a soft-top rather than the folding hardtop of rivals such as the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK. As you'd expect from Audi, the fit and finish is as good as anything offered by Porsche.
Aside from the brutal TT RS, there are three engines on offer in the TT. Entry-level cars get a 1.8-litre turbo petrol, while the 2.0 TFSI is the next motor in the range. Both are punchy and refined, and even the larger engine will return 39mpg. Diesel fans can choose a 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI, which promises fuel consumption of 53.3mpg. All TTs are poised and agile but the optional Magnetic Ride dampers are well worth the extra outlay. Offering a choice of Comfort and Sport modes, the upgraded suspension automatically adapts to road conditions. The S tronic automatic gearbox should also be considered, as it is one of the slickest, smoothest and fastest-shifting automatics on the market. Petrol models can be specified in front or four-wheel-drive form, but the punchy diesels are only available with Audi's renowned quattro four-wheel-drive system. This is no bad thing though as they offer endless grip and handle superbly.
With two-stage driver and passenger airbags, ESP and Isofix child seat mountings, the TT is as safe as any other Audi in the range. The car was awarded a five-star rating by crash protection experts Euro NCAP, too. Owners seem fairly satisfied with the TT ownership experience, with the car placing slap bang in the middle of our 2012 Driver Power survey - in 50th position. However glitches have been reported with the automatic gearbox and electrics - particularly on cars that have been retro fitted with iPod docks.
Inside, the focus is on style ahead of practicality. However, the TT coupe is reasonably spacious, with plenty of room for front seat occupants. However, the rear seats are extremely tight, and even small children will find conditions cramped. It's better to use the space as an extra storage space, while the split folding rear seats mean you can increase boot space from 290 litres (which is already pretty good for a coupe) to 700 litres.
The TT is expensive to buy, but few cars at any price hold their value better than the Audi. Even today, the coupe retains 60 per cent of its value after three years, meaning total ownership costs are low. If you’re a company car driver, go for the S tronic double clutch gearbox mated to the 2.0-litre TDI diesel which manages 51.4mpg while sprinting from 0-60mph in just 7.5 seconds. It costs more to buy than the manual, but offers an involving driving experience.